I’m Sorry I Don’t Say Sorry Enough

I’ve been a little tardy in replying to comments posted on the blog of late and reading the posts of others. A new job has been steadily eating into my day, in addition to the million and one other pressing matters tugging at my time and attention. This is most unlike me as I quietly pride myself on interacting with others and building a sense of community on WordPress. I hope to be firing on all cylinders again, very soon.

So, sorry….

It’s a small word, but a powerful one. In Northern Ireland, it is bandied about with little sense of its impact. Everyone constantly apologises to everyone else about such inconsequential matters. You accidentally nudge a fellow commuter on a crowded train – sorry – you knock a pen off a colleagues desk – sorry – you neglect to blog in a few days – oh, I’m terribly sorry.

Some of us apologise without even thinking about what we are apologising for, but do we truly mean it. To say sorry is to accept a fault or failing on your part, which is extremely difficult for some. It’s accepting you have fallen short of the standards you have set yourself. For some, that is a bridge too far. It’s tough enough being judged by others, without having to reflect on your own conduct and realise it could have been better.

We need to say sorry, though. It opens the door to forgiveness. It’s whacking the tennis ball across the net and hoping the person on the other side returns your serve. You have to mean it, though. Really mean it. Recognise where you messed up and take positive steps to ensure it never happens again. Sorry is the flag in the ground, the line in the sand, the place of no return. It defines who we want to be.

I’ve said sorry a million times, but for many years I never really meant it. It was a selfish exercise in self preservation, trying to wriggle off the hook when I discovered I had nowhere else to run. It took me a long time to say sorry and actually take affirmative action to prove to others I meant it this time, and it wouldn’t happen again. Words are cheap, they need to be backed up. You need to convince the injured parties.

Saying sorry and meaning it requires guts. It’s not for everyone. But it is a step down the path towards freedom. Breaking free from the shackles of guilt, shame and self loathing. It’s the key to unlocking the cell door you have been languishing in for what seems an eternity. It’s a chance, an opportunity to haul yourself out of the pit and start over again. It’s a painful process, initiating forgiveness, but a necessary one for all concerned.

The etymology of the word can be traced to the Old English ‘sang,’ meaning ‘pained’ or ‘distressed.’ Forgiveness is a painful experience, it drags up past memories which we don’t want to address. But wounds need to be cauterised and sometimes there needs to be additional pain, before proper healing can begin. That’s why so many of us detest change, much preferring to wallow in the status quo.

Everybody needs to say sorry, now and again. It’s a lifeline, one I would encourage you to grab onto and tug for all it’s worth. If you are reading this today, and feel it applies to you, then what are you waiting for? Find the person and say it. Sorry seems to be the hardest word, somebody once sang. But, such a necessary one. Say sorry today. It might just change your life. Forever.

Are you good at saying sorry?

Who do you need to apologise to today?

24 thoughts on “I’m Sorry I Don’t Say Sorry Enough

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  1. Growing up, my parents had two rules about saying I’m sorry. Rule #1 – you had to know what you were sorry for. Rule#2 you had to mean it. In some cases, it was obvious when we did not mean it. I taught my daughter the same rules. I’m thankful my parents stressed these two rules.

    I recently started a Forgiveness Sunday series on my blog. I started it after seeing a blogger post a hate filled rant against someone who had done them wrong in a major way. I can understand where they were coming from, but it was because I understood the point you made above.

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  2. I tell people ALL the time that my favorite word is sorry. I do no like when others are upset so I make a point to make them feel more comfortable… recently someone told me I needed to find a new favorite word, I had used up all my “sorry-s”. Now if I’m not really at fault, and they are friend or family!, I will yell out “PASTA!,” when I have the urge to apologize unnecessarily.

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  3. Good point. I too am sorry for being behind on reading posts. I’m glad you wrote this blog though because I thought you were being a little quiet, a little off perhaps. I of course assumed that this was because I have been quiet on WordPress myself of late due to packing/moving etc. But now I understand … a new job takes a whole lot out of you and your time; frankly it must be exhausting. Personally the reason I don’t like saying sorry is because I know I’ve done something wrong and I then feel such guilt. I hate doing something wrong because I hate the guilt of having hurt the other person. I feel as though I will never be trusted again and the friendship is therefore over. Very deep I’m afraid and goes to show how unhinged I am, but there you have it. Katie

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    1. Sorry means nothing unless the other person truly means it and proves it consistently over an extended period of time via their actions. It’s okay, we are all busy. I hope the move is a success for you 🙂

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  4. I think sorry, like I love you should be used only if true. I also think both sentiments are overused- sorry and love.
    This is very much relevant in our home now. As I find myself trying to teach my daughter that she does not have to apologize for being human. I am not sure where this came from in her, as we are not an overly sorry house. But it has been tough to reduce.
    I am an apologizer when I have wronged. I think it acknowledges the other person’s feelings and opens the opportunity for growth. My husband doesn’t believe in apologizing and I do not appreciate his sentiment. To me, acknowledging where I need to do better is part of taking responsibility for my action/transgression. It’s a complicated business. However, I do not think you need to apologize for having an active and busy life. How about sorry, not sorry?!

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  5. I taught my children to only apologize when they meant it. This wasn’t popular with other parents when there were disagreements but to this day I have girls that are in touch with and honest about their feelings. Sometimes you aren’t sorry for hitting little Johnny back when he hit you – and little Johnny isn’t either. Why teach our children to lie? I was raised to say it… all the time. Within the state system as a teen it because even less meaningful because I was essentially taught to apologize for my being. Now I only say it when I mean it. A true apology. And when someone apologizes, my girls and I never say “it’s okay” because it’s never okay to do something you later feel a need to apologize for, real or not. Instead, if we mean it we say, “I forgive you”. If we don’t mean it we say, “Your apology is noted.”

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      1. I say this with respect and for consideration not with attitude: It’s possible you’re looking to be validated by that person then versus offering an apology because you truly mean it. Someone who is truly repentant of their action versus being upset they got caught, doesn’t apologize for the reaction but because they are truly concerned with their actions and want to stop doing such things.

        I would not want to be lied to and told I’m forgiven if I’m not. My apology being noted is enough because I’m not apologizing for their validation, only God can give me that. If I apologize, I’m truly sorry for what I did and am telling the person it won’t happen again. I’m aware that just because I realize my action was wrong doesn’t mean the other person has forgiven me already. My apology can’t be dependent upon their reaction.

        Here’s a thought: What if it wasn’t a guarantee that we were saved upon repentance? What if like in other religions we didn’t have an assurance? Would you still be sorry for your sins? Or is the apology issues because you KNOW it’s forgiven? What if God said, “Go and sin no more” instead of “You are forgiven”? It’s such a potent consideration because it makes us dig into our motives for apologizing. I’ve asked that question to my young adults group in the past and it really made us DIG DEEP! It such a different thing when our apologies are intentional and meant.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m good at saying sorry. In fact too good. Somehow I learned that most things are my fault. So I take blame and say sorry. But things that are really my fault I say sorry… so much my kids had to ask me to quit saying it. 🤦‍♀️

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  7. Reblogged this on Night Time Honors and commented:
    My friend Andrea needs an apology. Everyone else has let it go and I think even so has she. But I don’t stop thinking about it. It’s been two years, it has taken me awhile to get it together. I guess I fall into the group of stubborn people. Whoops.

    Nice post.

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  8. I used to be good at saying “I’m sorry”. Most of the time the response was “Yes, you are.” I appreciate your acknowledgement of “I’m sorry” must be followed by action. Most of the things I was sorry for, the harm to others, was meaningless until I learned a better way. I know longer say I’m sorry.

    Today I take responsibility for my harmful actions and instead of “I’m sorry”, I ask “What can I do to make it right”. I don’t always hear the answer I’d like but O always feel a new degree of personal freedom to become a better person.

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